Category: Culture & History

The Life of A Strategist: Adolfo Gilly’s Biography of Felipe Ángeles

Adolfo Gilly’s most recent book, so far available only in Spanish, is a long (almost 800-page) book dealing with the life of a Mexican general who played a crucial role in the battles of Torreón and Zacatecas at a crucial stage in the Mexican Revolution.

Domestic Politics: Home Improvement Can’t Repair America’s Pandemic Crisis

The digital documentation of DIY domesticity has become a nearly-compulsory social act, a demonstration of how well we are “hanging in there” or “making the best of it”—both exceedingly popular hashtags right now.

Dark Satanic Mills

A review of Josh Freeman’s history of factories.

The Farm Equipment Workers

A History of Radical Labor

A review of Toni Gilpin’s history of labor struggles in the American heartland.

Walking the Tightrope: Latin America’s Pink Tide

A review essay on Steve Ellner’s collection on the Latin American turn to the left.

From the Russian Revolution to Russia Today

The relationship between Russia and the left from 1917.

Painting the Passports Brown

Listening to Dylan During COVID-19

A review of Bob Dylan’s “Murder Most Foul.”

Theory in Revolutionary Times

The Socialist Register Since the 1960s

A review of a collection of articles from the early years of The Socialist Register.

Analyzing the Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto never seems to go out of style for very long.

A Review of Claudia Rankine’s ‘Citizen, An American Lyric’

Claudia Rankine’s provocative and polyphonic work, Citizen: An American Lyric, has spurred much-needed conversations around race and racism. In the wake of the recent protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, this book finds itself all the more relevant and also unnervingly prescient.

Belgium’s Colonial Crimes in the Congo: A Duty to Remember

Thanks to the Black Lives Matter mobilizations against racism in general, and racism against black people in particular, becoming an international phenomenon more and more people are seeking to know the truth about the dark past of the colonial powers and the continuation of neo-colonialism up to the present times.

An “All Hands on Deck” Moment: Sixty-Six Old New Leftists Urge Support for Joe Biden

When I heard that people who had been prominent in SDS had written an open letter about the importance of supporting Joe Biden, I immediately wanted to read it, because long ago that was my organization.

“Capital, It Fails Us Now”: Andy Gill of Gang of Four, 1956-2020

For people of a certain age — Generation X, they used to call us — it’s something of a cliche that if you loved punk rock and had leftist leanings you’d find your way to hearing a Gang of Four . . .

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Are You a Settler?

Settler-colonialism, Capitalism and Marxism on Turtle Island

The politics of solidarity on display during the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline have raised the issue of Indigenous liberation more and more sharply to people on the left.

The Historical Retrieval and Controversy of Walter Rodney’s Russian Revolution

The posthumous publication of Walter Rodney’s book on the historiography of the Russian Revolution is a remarkable accomplishment of historical retrieval, and it provides us with an opportunity to look more deeply into Rodney’s relationship to Marxism, Soviet . . .

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Sudan’s Revolution of 2019

At the Crossroads of Africa and the Arab World

Sudan’s revolution is not only Arab but also African in a way not seen in the 2011 Arab uprisings. The old regime combined Islamism and a racist form of Arabism with military rule, touching off in response a . . .

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A Brief Introduction to the Saga of the Labor Movement for Emerging Militants

This piece is the text of a talk given to the DSA Lower Manhattan Branch’s Political Education Working Group on December 4, 2019, serving as introduction to “Bernie and Labor” part of its series “Why Bernie?”

“Joker” and the Crisis of Capitalism

The idea of the Batman franchise being associated with expressions of popular discontent is something which has already become familiar to us, thanks to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and the responses it generated, including a much-read review of . . .

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Thirty Years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Remember when the Berlin Wall came down? I do.
Glued to TVs in DeKalb, Illinois, my college friends and I watched in envy and amazement as the young Berliners on our screens swarmed all over that unholy edifice attacking it with . . .

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We Should Critique the NBA as a Cultural Product

In an interview with the New Yorker this past June, former National Basketball Association (“NBA”) player Jalen Rose criticized the NBA’s ‘data analytics movement’ for how it incentivizes organizations to “funnel jobs” to people with advanced technical degrees, but without . . .

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The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)

When I was working with the Teamster reform movement forty years ago, truck drivers concerned about union corruption had to proceed warily.
In the late 1970s, too many affiliates of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) were run by grifters or . . .

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